More than two decades after devastating war in Kosovo, mothers still search for their missing children
Most of those missing are ethnic Albanians, torn from their homes or pulled out of refugee columns by Serbian forces. Hundreds of Serbian civilians, again mostly men, disappeared in revenge attacks after the war ended in July 1999.
There remains a point of political confrontation amid European attempts to bridge the divide between Pristina and Belgrade.
When Albin Kurti, the current Prime Minister of Kosovo, last saw Alexander Vucic, the current President of Serbia, face to face in an EU-brokered dialogue this summer, the talks collapsed in acrimony as the two men accused each other of obstructing justice for the misdemeanors.
In the two decades since the end of the war, forensic teams have exhumed hundreds of bodies in several anonymous mass graves in Kosovo and Serbia. In 2005, the remains of Artan and Edmund Qerkezi were found in separate locations near the town of Priszen.
But many, including the rest of Ms. Qerkezi’s family, are still missing.
Families on either side of the ethnic divide share a lingering agony of uncertainty that makes the discovery of a mass grave an occasion of both hope and despair, and disillusion bordering on fury with the slowness of investigations that had to catch the killers. .
“The priority is to find out what happened. After that, we would wait for justice to be done, ”said Silvana Marinkovic, an ethnic Serb who has been looking for her husband Goran since his disappearance on July 19, 1999.
Ms Marinkovic quickly established with an Albanian friend that Goran and two other men he was with had been arrested by armed men at a checkpoint in the nearby village of Labjane.